Welcome to The Chosen's journals. Each character is invited to keep a journal and write down the thoughts of their characters as they wander through Nyternia. In addition, the DM has a journal which highlights each session. The players are:

Blink - monk Errol - bard
Kestrel - fighter Malif - wizard
Vaugner - rogue Vernon - cleric/sorcerer

Choose a journal:   Select a session:

DM's Journal, session #15
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June 11

The party had just arrived in Tallo after spending two weeks riding from Asterin. The only notable occurence was an earthquake the day after they left Asterin.

They arrived in Tallo and went to the ruling keep to try and contact Jay. They left a note with the guard, who looked at them dubiously, but sent a page to deliver the note to Jay.

While some of the party waited by the entrance, others went to the nearby park to relax or run errands. Blink found a spiked chain in an exotic weapons shop and a climbing kit in an adventurer's store. Kestrel, who had stayed behind, overheard a conversation between another party of adventurers and the guard.

The other party was here to sign up for a hunt that was scheduled for the next week. Kestrel asked more questions about it. It turned out that hunt was "The Tallo Hunt" which was a qualifying tournament for the adventurer's convention they were headed to in Ashanto.

The rules of the hunt were simple. Hunting groups consisted of four to six veteren adventurers. Because of the risk, novice adventurers were not allowed. From sunup till sundown, each group would hunt down animals in the forest. Each animal was worth a certain number of points:

Deer: 100
Boar: 250
Bear: 400
Tiger: 500
Other: 350

For safety concerns, dire animals were valued the same as regular animals. This served a disincentive to hunt dire animals. A judge would accompany each team to ensure fairness. After each kill, the team had to bring the animal back to headquarters to receive points. There were more rules, but they didn't seem important as Kestrel skimmed through them.

Thinking it would be interesting, Kestrel signed the team up for the hunt and got a copy of the rules for the party to review later.

Later that night, Jay sent a messenger to find the party and welcome them into the castle. She apologized for keeping them waiting for so long, but she explained, "Senate has been a zoo today with the winter session about to close and everyone trying to get their pet projects in. I've been stuck presiding over it all day. Anyways, I'm about to get dinner; are you guys hungry?"

Vernon and Jay ate dinner while the rest of the party brought her up to date with their adventures and news of their various class-mates.

"Wow, not matter how self-deprecating you are about adventuring, I can't help but think you guys are lucky. It sure seems a lot more fun than hanging around stuffy nobles who all want something from you and acting as a referee for childish senators bickering," she said.

"Still, I do feel that I can make a difference here. The government here has been stagnating by always seeking the status quo. Talented men and women in the past have been handicapped if they come from a poorer region, but I have plans to put an end to this."

They talked about politics and other small talk for a while. Finally as it got late, Jay asked them to come back tomorrow where they could talk more in private. Over dinner she had offered the party some guest quarters within the castle while they were in town, to which the party had happily agreed.

June 12

Jay arranged for a catered lunch to be brought to her private room, and met the party for lunch. When they were alone, she asked if they had made any progress on their quest.

"Well, we're on our way to Ashanto and hope to get more information there. Other than that we haven't found anything really," Malif replied.

Jay said, "Tera hasn't been able to find out much more either. However, the political scenario she feared has come. In the past, all the Belar shared all the information they had. However, all the Belar families are being very secretive about these gems.

"This secrecy extends so far that each Belar family won't admit whether the possess a gem at all, let alone how many. Aside from knowing the Yogar have at least one gem, she doesn't know anything. And the only reason she knows about the Yogar is because of Klaus.

"It has become the top priority for all the Belar to obtain these Gems, as they fear what might happen if they have less gems than their neighbors. It's become an arms race of sorts."

She shook her head, "Tera seems really worried about this. She feels that nothing good will come of all of this, but she feels she is being forced along lest her family be run over."

After lunch, Jay had other business so the party was left to themselves. The Hunt was still almost a week away, and the party used this time to train, gather information about the hunt and strategize, and relax.

June 13

Vaugner had been searching the city discreetly in an attempt to contact Shadow or another person would could train him in the art of the arcane rogue. Finally, a young street urchin brought him a note which read:

Walk outside the city in any direction for an hour.

He started to ask who had sent him the note, but the lad had already run off. Deciding that he wasn't important enough to warrent an ambush, and that this was probably his mentor wanting to make contact with him, he headed west out of the city.

He was intercepted about 30 minutes out by Shadow.

"How's it going," a voice came from ground level behind a tree.

"Um, not bad I guess," replied Vaugner. "I've been working on my hiding and spotting skills; I'd still like to join if that's possible."

Shadow jumped down from the tree. Despite it being the middle of the day, he was dressed in a swirl of dark green clothes, his face masked.

"Well we've checked your background out. It certainly seems that you have been rising quickly in power. We have a deal for you. In exchange for revealing how you've been advancing so quickly, I have been authorized to explain to you, in broad terms, Nicolai's operation, and that if you decide you are still interested, then I can explain in greater detail and train you.

"Realize, however, that what you are about to be told is in strict confidence, and that if you cannot keep your discretion, you will have the wrath of the entire organization upon you," Shadow warned.

Vaugner nodded and said, "I'm definately still interested."

"Very well, here are the basics. Nicolai made a name for himself by taking care of 'problems' of state for various nobles. He was clever enough to never be caught, despite a wide array of magic which was used.

"He knew his luck would run out, though, so he expanded his scope. In addition to assassinations, he was able to ferret out secrets many thought would never escape. Armed with this information, he was able to keep himself from being captured or killed. He once was even able to get temporary asylum from the Romonus's within days of killing one of his hiers.

"He continued this for about 10 years, but eventually got bored. Some rumors say that he was getting too close to being caught, but the truth was that he just didn't care anymore. He used to enjoy outfoxing his opponents and discovering secrets, but there was no challenge anymore.

"What I've told you is common knowledge. What is also known by some is that he decided to train others to do what he did. No one knows for sure how many people are in his network, or what exactly they do. There are many rumors which often contradict each other. To be sure, though, secrecy and loyalty are requirements of his network.

"If one were to enter his network, he or she would be expected to follow orders without question and without regard to which kingdom it was directed."

"Actually, that was one of my questions," Vaugner replied. "I've heard rumors there are two different organizations that he actually controls. Is that true?"

"Yes. What I'm telling you from now on must not be repeated. I assume you are still interested? Very well... the older organization is the assassin. They are responsible for dealing with elimination of targets. The newer organization is intelligence gathering. Thought they are not tasked with eliminating specific targets, their jobs may still require elimination of opposition.

"To aid our members, they are taught an obscure arcane fighting style. This allows them to cast some spells which allow them to succeed where others might fail."

"I'm definately interested in this," Vaugner said. "Pure assassination I think is a little too cold-blooded for me. I have no problems killing someone if they get in my way, though, and I think intelligence gathering is fascinating. I'd definately be interested in that."

"Very well. Meet me here tomorrow and I will teach you enough that you can begin the path of the arcane rogue."

June 20

Through the past week, some of the party had trained. Others scouted the probly hunting area and found several small lakes they thought might attract animals. Jay had been busy dealing with the Senate, but did manage to have several meals with the party.

Yesterday, the party had traveled to the camp headquarters along with the other teams. Over 20 teams were entered; most of them weren't serious contenders, but out to enjoy a day of relaxing outdoors. The party spotted only four or five serious contenders.

At 6 AM the hunt started. Each team had been given a magical sled which helped them carry back the animals they killed. Though the exact starting point for the hunt was a secret, over the past week the party had scouted a large region of the forest, and knew that there was a small lake a couple hours away towards the southwest.

The various hunting parties spread out; most seemed to be heading west or northwest. The party decided to head southwest towards the lake.

Very quickly Vernon found bear tracks close by. The party quickly found and slaughtered the bear and brought it back to headquarters. Several other teams had brought back a kill, though most kills were deer. They were tied for the lead with three other teams.

Their next encounter was with 2 deer. Vaugner shot one down, but the other bolted before anyone else could take it down. Three hours had gone by, and the party were 150 points behind the leader.

By midafternoon the party had taken down a dire boar, a dire bear, and another bear. Despite the warning not to pursue dire animals, the party decided they could kill the dire animals without too many issues, and it would rack up the points faster. Despite all the kills, they only had 1550 points, and were 750 points behind a ranger-led team that had killed three tigers and a bear with two cubs.

The afternoon was winding down, and the party knew they would have to be quick to get two kills before the 6PM deadline. Their luck turned against them though, and nothing close to the camp headquarters could be found.

The party decided their last chance would be head to the lake and hope that many animals would congregate there around dusk. Their theory proved to be correct, as there were several animals around the lake: three deer and two boar could be seen around the lake.

Working quickly because they were running out of time, the party quickly formulated a plan. The deer and boar were far enough apart around the lake that the party would have to split up. Malif, Blink, and Vaugner would edge forward until Malif could web the boars, while Errol, Kestrel would fascinate the deer and hope they didn't notice the web in the distance. Vernon stayed with the judge both to protect him and so he could rush to either group in case something went wrong.

Luck was with the party and it worked perfectly. The archers slew the boar and then started cautiously heading towards the deer. Vernon, who was on the lookout for anything unusual, spotted a tiger sunning itself on a rock in between the archers and Errol. No one else seemed to see the tiger, and Vernon moved up to tell the rest of the party.

Meanwhile, Vaugner had gotten close enough to the tiger that it stood up and gave a half-hearted growl, trying to scare off the human. Upon hearing the growl, Malif moved forward and took a shot at the tiger, slightly wounding it, while Vaugner cast true strike. The rest of the party was too far to respond quickly. The tiger took off running. Malif fired twice but missed. Vaugner's first shot, aided by the spell, easily landed, but it looked like the tiger was going to get away. Muttering to himself, Vaugner loosed his second arrow -- an amazing shot which pierced through the heart of the tiger -- killing it.

Amazingly the deer, several hundred feet away, still hadn't noticed the commotion, so intent were they on Errol.

Vernon shouted to the judge, "You saw it, it appeared while we were heading to the deer. That's a legitimate kill!"

The judge nodded as he moved towards the party as they quickly killed the deer. "That's three deer, two boar, and a tiger. Quite an amazing haul!"

As the party was putting the carcasses on the sled, an eerie song arose from across the lake. Everyone but Blink, Malif, and the judge were mezmerized by two harpies and started walking directly towards them. Unforutnately, the quickest way was through the lake.

Luckily, in the next round Vernon cast a quick spell on Errol to free him, Blink rushed around the edge of the pool, the judge tried to make himself inconspicuous, and the rest of the party waded into the water.

Errol started drumming, and his music freed the rest of the party from the mesmerizing harpy song. After taking a few seconds to wade back out of the pool, the party returned to full form and dispatched the harpies.

When they arrived back at the headquarters tent, they discovered that their main opposition had managed to kill another tiger to bring their total to 2800. The party's three deer, two boar, and tiger brought their total to 2850, and the harpies netted them another 350 to bring their total to 3200, which was good enough to win the tournament.

The party was congratulated by the rest of the teams, and though some grumbled about what a lucky haul the party had, the tournament officials reassured all the teams that magic would be used to ensure there was no cheating involved.

With that the party enjoyed the dinner and travelled back to Tallo for the awards ceremony.